The pick me up playlist

Around 18 months ago I created a Pick me up playlist.

The reason I did this is in the name, I wanted a pick me up. But more importantly I wanted something I could go back to.

I’m lucky enough to know how the music I listen to makes me feel and, I curated a playlist of songs to listen to when I am in need of a pick me up.

It is simple yet incredibly effective.

And of course the music doesn’t fix the issue but it reminds me what it is like to feel good and that makes me want to make the effort to make things better.

If you’re someone that enjoys listening to music, I’d advise you to give it a go.

You don’t even need to create a whole playlist but the next time you feel down just listen to one of your favourite songs and see how it makes you feel.

On learning to voice your needs

I just googled not being able to voice your needs and there were about 1,220,000,000 results.

Being able to voice your needs is an important part of life. If you can’t say what you need, you probably won’t get it.

If you’ve ever been that person you might have been lucky enough to find someone that gets you. Not in any romantic sense but just someone that understands you even when you’re not able to find the words. That kind of person comes into your life through you being open and vulnerable enough to voice your needs.

It could be as simple as letting someone know that you need space, at first the person might be surprised or not take it well. But over time a good friend or someone that cares about you will understand that at certain times you need to be alone. And it won’t become an issue, they won’t try and make you feel bad or tell you that you have to have to talk now. They will listen and respect your needs.

On the flipside, people that aren’t able to voice their needs might end up falling into feeling misunderstood or uncared for and then carrying that feeling around them everywhere they go. But more often than not, that feeling isn’t true at all. It only feels true because you’re not saying what you need.

Making the best of challenging circumstances

One of the best lessons to have learnt this year is how to make the best of challenging circumstances.

I’d be highly surprised to find that there is anyone who reads this blog that has not been affected by the pandemic.

People have lost their jobs, had family and friends pass, experienced financial difficulties, had holidays postponed, struggled to cope because they’re living alone, missed moments with the people they care about, had plans cancelled and so much more.

It’s easy to end up feeling as though life can be nothing more than bleak but it’s important to remember the joys of life.

No matter what is going on if you only focus on the ‘bad bits’ it will consume your whole outlook until you can’t see past it.

Of course you can’t ignore what is going on in the world but you can make time for things that bring you joy and make you feel good.

How to stop feeling so overwhelmed?

The answer is in the question.

Stop.

The feeling of being overwhelmed often comes when we don’t allow ourselves to feel something and instead adopt a go, go, go mindset.

Instead taking care of yourself and working through your feelings, you fill your mind and time with 101 distractions that will eventually catch up to you.

Or maybe you’ve taken on too much, you have a lot going on and haven’t had enough time to rest to keep you going in a way that is healthy.

What ever the case may be, you can’t keep going.

When told to stop or even just slow down we often use the excuse that we can’t. Perhaps it is that people are relying on you or you think there’s too much to be done.

But as it is those things that are causing the overwhelm, it’s exactly what you need a break from.

So stop, even just for a few minutes, it will make more of a difference than you think.

Procrastination and relying on stress

Anyone who regularly procrastinates will tell you that they want to do the thing but they just keep putting it off. Often when we procrastinate we justify it to ourselves by prioriting things with low urgency that still give us that good feeling of that comes from getting things done.

We tell ourselves we’ll start later or tomorrow and we convince ourselves that that we still have enough time to get it done.

But what tends to happen is we just continue to put things off more and more. We do this until our stress levels start to increase and we reach the point where if we don’t start now we’ll miss the deadline.

And so you finally begin.

I had a recent experience with procrastination and once the work was complete I ended up reflecting on my behaviour.

When you get into the habit of choosing to procrastinate until the last possible moment, you train yourself to rely on stress to get things done. And so the next time you have a deadline you’re unable to find the motivation because you’re waiting for the adrenaline to kick in.

I think there are 2 main ways to stop procrastinating.

The first way is to experience things going wrong as a result of your procrastination. When our habits have negative implications this encourages a change in behaviour. It might start with you giving yourself 5 days for something instead of two and slowly build up until you become someone who always makes sure they have enough time.

The second is to just start straight away next time. We tell ourselves it’s difficult to start and just decide that it’s true when it’s not at all. Starting takes a little effort and commitment but it’s not as challenging as you tell yourself.

It’ll probably help to remind yourself of the benefits of starting straight away like being able to work at a steady pace instead of having to cram everything into a short period of time.

If you’re someone with a habit of procrastinating, it might not seem easy to change but it’s definitely possible.

Out of sync

A morning routine is a great way to keep yourself in sync. But sometimes life will have you thrown off track, have you doing things differently and you’ll find yourself out of sync.

Instead of a meticulous step by step almost domino effect morning routine, you find yourself frazzled and in a rush. You forget the things you usually do or they’re done with less effort.

And so when you go out into the world you’re all over the place.

When that happens what you probably need is to rest, relax and reset.

Doing what helps

It’s strange how sometimes you can find yourself resisting the very thing that you know will help.

Maybe, it’s because it feels like too much effort or maybe you’ve forgotten how much it might benefit you.

It could be something as simple as going for a walk when you’re feeling down. Perhaps, the thought of putting on proper clothes, doing your hair and seeing other people when you’re not at your best is enough to make you think that staying inside is the better option.

But the longer you stay inside the more difficult it’ll be to convince yourself to go outside.

Sometimes even when you know something might help you can’t being yourselves to do it because you’re not in a hopeful mindset. You don’t feel like trying to make things better because in that moment you don’t even believe it’s possible.

But why not do the thing that might help anyway and see how you feel afterwards. It might not make things better but it definitely won’t make things worse.

Making difficult decisions

The feeling of regret is always uncomfortable, especially when you think that making a different choice would have led to a better life.

When you reach this conclusion, what do you do next?

Do you take charge, choose the other choice and commit to it in order to reach the outcome you believe is possible.

Or do you get swept up in the feeling of regret and allow your mind to go round and round in circles telling stories about how that single choice you made has ruined your life.

The other option is to stick with the decision you made and make the best of the path you’re on.

It can be difficult to decide but if you put less pressure on the decision you make, things start to feel a whole lot easier.

What also helps is knowing that whatever you pick, things will turn out totally fine.

Creating a safe space

When it comes to opening up, do you know what you need in order to feel safe?

A starting point is to ask yourself ‘Will what I am about to say be handled with care?’

I’ve learnt that people often hold their challenges dear. Even if it’s not deeply affecting them now they still require a level of care when it’s being discussed.

For example, you probably want more than just ‘oh wow, glad you’re okay’ when opening up about a past period of depression.

Another question to ask is ‘What do I want from this situation?’

Many times when we open up to people, we want something particular from them in return. But often we don’t realise until it’s too late.

A common example is discussing an issue you’re having and getting annoyed when the other person tries to offer advice or tell you what to do. Turns out you just wanted someone to listen.

And so overall, creating a safe space is a combination of knowing what makes you feel safe, voicing what you need and (as always) picking the right people.

Things that help

Just a little reminder for whenever you get overwhelmed with everything that is going on. It can be easy to forget how far you’ve come or all the helpful things that you’ve learnt.

Going for a walk – I think this must be one of the most popular things that people do to clear their head plus it gets the body moving.

Sitting in silence – We rarely sit in silence there’s always something whether you’re listening by choice or it’s background noise like music, TV or a conversation.

Talking to a friend – Choose someone that will listen but be mindful and ask before offloading. You don’t have to even talk about the issue at hand maybe just have a random chat about life.

Talking to a stranger – Not literally but some that is unbiased and not part of your everyday life like a therapist or a helpline set up to support people with different issues they’re facing.

Meditation – Maybe your mediation is sitting in silence but maybe it’s a guided mediation to ease stress or anxiety. It helps to be still sometimes and we often underestimate the impact it can have because we feel like it won’t help to just stop or at least slow down.

EFT – Also known as tapping. This is probably one of the most unexpectedly helpful things I’ve ever come across. I love that it doesn’t require any materials and is easy to do.

Laughter – They call laughter the medicine of life and I believe it. Something funny can totally shift your mood on days when you feel down.

Dancing – Dancing brings me so much joy and it’s another way to get the body moving. When your feeling down and remain still it enables the emotions to become heavy and weigh you down. Plus if dancing is something you associate with fun or celebrations it’ll actually help you feel better.

Uplifting words – Whether it’s podcasts, talks, songs or books, find words that uplift you. I even find it helpful to read back my own words because much of what I write is timeless and based around overcoming challenges.